Posts Tagged ‘crowd psychology’

Essays by Carl Nelson

February 6, 2016

Carl Sleeping1

The Day I’m Not Called a Bigot, Racist, Islamophobe, Homophobe, Misogynist, Reactionary or Racist is the Day I’ve Failed My Country and Two Thousand Years of History

(or How I Developed a Soft Spot for Richard Nixon)


 I’ve never bagged all of these epithets on the same day, but I have landed three in one posting.  I was accused of “creating an environment where reactionary thinking was tolerated” and called a bigot and a racist all in the same thread.  And this was by my nephew.

There was a study conducted some time ago which was written about in an issue I had of The New Yorker.  It seems that individuals in crowds allow themselves more and more leeway to act delinquently depending upon the amount of implied consensus within the surrounding group.  That is, if everybody decides to kick someone when they’re down, that’s when we’re going to feel most free to get in a few licks ourselves.  If one person objects, several may hold back.  And if several hold back, this could demoralize several more.  We can see how this could start a de-escalation of what I would call bandwagon bullying.

As I heard a character say on a TV miniseries I was watching just the other night, “The law is like a muscle.  If you exercise it, it grows strong.  But if you don’t exercise it,”… it becomes such a weak thing as to be useless.  I feel the same way about the First Amendment.

Even living way out in the woods, such as I, a person can become as deeply involved in some fulmination through social media as if he lived in Brooklyn.   This is the miracle of our age.

Some days I don’t feel quite up to it.  I want to post a cute kitten.   Nevertheless I feel honor bound to pick up a post and swing it if a lynch mob should pass me by.  My feeling is that just one person can send the message that the real world is not quite ready to allow this violence that is fulminating.  They are going to have to wait a while.  They’ll have to cool their heels or search for better circumstances.  They’re not going to get a pass.  Not from me.  “Over my dead body,” as they say.

How does a person become this ‘mean, bigoted, racist, reactionary, misogynistic and homophobic’ person such as myself?

Well, just disagree.  That would be the first – and really only – step necessary.  Then continue to apply as needed.

Everybody is encouraged to go out and “change the world!”.  It’s the progressive way!  It’s Mao’s Cultural Revolution emulsified and fed to our young ones through their schools and media as mother’s milk.  It’s on the breakfast, lunch and dinner menu.  And our youth have become, apparently, what they ate.

Our media extol it.  Our Presidential candidates swear by it.  As George Bush said,  “Hell, if I were running again for President, I’d be for change myself!”

I can’t think of a better slogan for a culture and a life which is never satisfactory – perfection be damned.



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